Foliar traits and vital rates of late-successional tree species from a tropical rain forest

  • Cristina Martínez Garza Centro de Educación Ambiental en Biodiversidad y Conservación, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos
  • Henry F. Howe Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago
Keywords: synthetic communities, phenotypic stability, late-successional trees


Restoration of vegetation in perturbed areas (e.g., abandoned pastures) with late-successional tree species may help to bypass decades of low diversity by accelerating succession. To elucidate how leaf dynamics is related to high growth rates and survival in early successional environments, we evaluated the hypothesis that plasticity in foliar demography is positively related to establishment of seven late-successional tree species growing in sunny sites (pasture and edge) and dark sites (secondary forest) at Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico. We monitored leaves from 517 individuals from all species at all habitats during one year. Individuals growing in secondary forest and edge showed higher leaf survival and lower leaf production than those growing in pasture. Individuals with higher growth rates and survival in pasture showed high plasticity in their leaf survival and low plasticity in their leaf production (stability) while individuals in edge and secondary forest with high survivorship were those with high stability in their leaf production. Our results indicate that Nectandra ambigens, Licaria velutina and Pouteria rhynchocarpa may be planted in pastures because they show high growth rates and survival there, besides, they have different maximal height as adults and therefore they will provide structural diversity to the restored forest. Species with low plant survivorship in pastures as Calophyllum brasiliense, Pimenta dioica, Amphitecna tuxtlensis and Eugenia inirebensis should be planted in great numbers or until a canopy of pioneers develop.


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Foliar traits and vital rates of late-successional tree species from a tropical rain forest


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How to Cite
Martínez Garza, C., & Howe, H. F. (2019). Foliar traits and vital rates of late-successional tree species from a tropical rain forest. Botanical Sciences, 86, 1-10.